FAYETTEVILLE – The No. 11 University of Arkansas women’s track and field team closed competition at the 102nd Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa., Saturday with a meet and school record in the 4×400-meter relay. The mile relay team of Regina George, Shelise Williams, Gwendolyn Flowers and Whitney Jones ran to a time of 3:28.63, breaking the 24-year-old Drake Relays record and replacing the school record set in 2006.
"I couldn’t have asked them to do any more than what they did today," associate head coach Rolando Greene said. "I do believe that we have faster times in us. The teams that go on to succeed and win at the NCAA Championships run fast at this point of the season, and we’re doing that right now. I can’t say how special it was to break the Drake Relays record and school record running this way and in front of this crowd."
With their performance in the 4×400-meter relay, the Razorbacks reset the meet record originally set by Alabama at the 1987 event. This is the second quartet in school history to run a sub-3:30 mile relay. The previous school record of 3:28.78 was set at the 2006 NCAA Championships by Sasha Rolle, Jessica Cousins, Paige Farrell and Tominique Boatright. While extending its SEC lead and No. 2 rank in the NCAA, Arkansas now also holds the second-best time in the world.
The Razorbacks picked up their first runner-up finish of the day with a second-place finish in the sprint-medley relay. The quartet of Flowers, George, Jones and Martine Borge combined for a time of 3:51.24.
Having qualified for the shuttle-hurdle final earlier in the day, hurdlers Ivanique Kemp and Brittany Hyter teamed with hepthatletes Leah Orley and Makeba Alcide to finish second in the event with a time of 55.28, the fourth-fastest showing in school history and the best by Arkansas at Drake Relays. During the preliminary rounds, the same foursome posted a time of 57.22 to qualify second overall.
Off their two hurdle-relay legs, Kemp and Hyter returned to the track for the finals of the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, respectively. Kemp ran to a personal-best time of 13.34 to finish fourth in the hurdles’ sprint event. Her time is the fastest by a Razorback hurdler since the 2007 season. Based on times entering the weekend, Kemp is now tied for fifth in the SEC. Running in section two of the 400-meter hurdles, Hyter finished seventh in her heat, and 17th overall, with a time of 1:01.07.
Earlier in the day, Williams competed in the invitational section of the 400 meters. The only collegiate athlete in the field, she finished sixth in a time of 52.95. In the team’s only field result of the day, Shantel Thompson finished 17th in the long jump with a mark of 18-1.5, her only legal attempt of the day.
The busy weekend for the Razorbacks continues Sunday with the distance crew competing at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Arkansas is scheduled to have entries in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and steeplechase at the Stanford meet. Competition for the team is set to begin at 6:58 p.m. (CT). For more information and continued coverage, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.